Marteeka's Dreams

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heroes: The Carver Brothers




Since I wrote the very first book in this series all those years ago, This family has become my measure of love. True, no one will ever live up to them, but one can hope. :)

Get all our books in this series in one collection. 


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer 2016 -- WARNING! Not for the faint of heart.

It took me several days to write this post. Even now as I'm reading over it, my chest is tight and i'm blinking back tears...

To say the summer of 2016 will be one summer I will endeavor to forget is an understatement, Yes there have been some very positive things, but there have been some life altering, heart rending events as well. Whether they turn out to be for good or ill remains to be seen, but I am not fond of change.

It all started in May. While the event was hands down THE BEST convention I've ever been too -- topping even last year -- it marked the beginning of the end of partnership and a friendship. I shouldn't say the begging of the end but rather the ending of the end. There are always two sides to everything and the actuality is probably somewhere in the middle, but all I know is how I feel about specific instances. The more I think about them, going back and reading past e-mails and IM conversations, the more accepting I am of what I see now as an inevitable outcome. It didn't start out that way which is what is so sad about the whole thing. For years things were fine. When things got tough was when... well, when things got tough. Being me, the non-confrontational person I am, I tend to let things build and build, blowing up at the wrong thing. I also tend to second guess myself afterward. Did I blow up because I was upset at something completely unrelated? Was whomever I lashed out at collateral damage? Did I have PMS? In this instance I was so upset, I called a friend. I turned over the password to my e-mail, said "search for this" and let her have free run of every single message over YEARS. (Folders and tags were extremely helpful here.) Several weeks later, she got  back to me, telling me that, yes, I blew up at the wrong thing but she could see it building as far back as three years before. There were mini meltdowns, resolves not to get lured back into the fray, but I always went back. (Kinda reminded me of my first boyfriend whom I stayed with for two and a half years. Even after he told me that, at 125lbs, I was too fat to be attractive to him. On my birthday.) While I grieve and miss both the partnership and the friendship, I realize that we're both better off. Yes. It fucked with me. Still fucks with me. But then something else happens and I think, at least now there isn't supposed to be loyalty. When it happened before, it was your "bestie." Jury is still out, but I'm not holding out hope.

Vacation, while not a complete disaster, wasn't at all what I expected. Or hoped. But hey. It was vacation. My family had a wonderful time and so did I. After the events above, I SO needed to soak up the sun! Which is exactly what I did. Soaked up quite a bit of alcohol as well, but that's another story. :D

After vacation came the disappointing -- and frustrating end of June. Won't go into specific detail, but suffice it to say I learned that, I'm insensitive to everyone's feelings but my own. I'm stubborn, hard headed, concerned only about myself, am unable to understand when things are difficult for others, and am only concerned about things I think I am owed. That was in response to me being upset about being expected to work for free. No one asked me to work for free. No one said I had to work for free or was going to work for free. But I wasn't getting paid for the previous pay period and there was work lined up to be done immediately. So yeah. I found out what a user I was, that I take advantage of my friends but those friends were too nice to say anything to me about it because they are my friends and there was no since making a big deal about it. I was championed, defended, and pushed to be better. But I never saw anything other than what I thought I was owed. Yes. I sound bitter. The conversation was only one of many of this nature and I realized that, the reason those conversations happened in the first place was because I allowed them to happen more than once. Just like with that first boyfriend.

June turned into July and I found out my Dad would not be eligible for any of the clinical trials we'd applied for because his cancer is too advanced or because his heart wouldn't stand up to the treatment. That wasn't a huge blow, but after all the drama I'd just been through, it was a blow. I wanted something positive to come out of this summer! It's all I really wanted at this point! His doctor was still very supportive. Not only for Dad, but for Mom and me as well. They set my mother up with counselors for her to talk to if she had questions or fears, helping Dad's support system have a support system. Every time I go with him to the doctor, Dr Villano asks how my mother is. Asks how I'm doing. It makes me feel like they all really do care about us. That we're not alone. And every single time I've called, the doctor himself has called me back. He talks to me, gives me the means to help myself and my Dad through information. By pointing me to websites where I can get the knowledge myself to help Dad find a treatment plan that he can live with. Even though brain cancer sucks, having healthcare providers who listen and truly care about their patients makes getting through it a little easier. Or, at least, not as miserable.

The positive came from the garden. Vegetables EVERYWHERE! We canned and froze our asses off! Corn and peas in the freezer, Beans, potatoes, and tomatoes canned. Bumper crop of potatoes! My only fear is that we won't be able to keep the potatoes through the winter, but I have hope.

Then August came. Yeah. August. My work place is being sold. To the company I left from to go there in the first place. Fortunately, I hadn't completely quit old job a year and a half ago, so I was able to go back and keep all my seniority, benefits, and basically pick up where I left off. It does mean giving up a lot to keep a moderate amount. But hey. At least I have a place to go without having to start all over.

I also found homes for a few books where rights had been returned to me. I reacquainted myself with old friends I hadn't really lost touch with, but who were waiting for me to get my head out of my ass and realize I had people who cared about me. Oh, I was reminded that "I told you so" is a perfectly acceptable response to "I'm sorry," but I can't say I didn't deserve it.

So, as August turns to September and Autumn is truly on the way, I'm reminded of all I've lost. All I have. My husband's birthday is in a few days and I'm so very blessed he's in my life. I'm blessed with a relationship that has lasted twenty years and I hope it last twenty more. I have a son who will turn thirteen in October and he still stops by my chair for random hugs and kisses. He never goes to bed without kissing me goodnight. And when he's hurting, troubled, scared, or just in need of feeling loved, he still takes my hand and says, "Mom, I need to cuddle a minute." We lay down, I hold him, and he tells me what's bothering him. I think he does it so he doesn't have to look at me when he's taking. He has the comfort of my arms around him without having to see my expression and that's OK. I know those days are numbered, but I treasure them now. With my dad being sick, I'm having to relearn to love my mother. Our past isn't as loving as my tight family unit, In fact, it's been quite contentious at times. It's been hard to drop everything and go running when she needs help with Dad. There have been times I've really wanted to tell her she's going to have to do the best she can. I have my own life to live. But I can't. I have helped people as a healthcare provider for twenty years. The very, very least I can do is help my own parents out. Besides, the thought of my seventy year old mother sleeping on the floor of the Emergency room because she has no one to stay with Dad while he's there and, even if she did, has no ride to a hotel makes my heart ache and my blood boil. I don't want my own son to have to relearn how to love me. I never want him to stop loving me. Not just deep down inside. I think that love always stays there. But the love on the surface of your emotions can... fade. Grow numb. I want his love for me to be as raw and necessary as it is now when he gets to be my age. I want to know that, no matter where he goes, or who he's with, he'll always come back home.

So, while I am not a fan of cold weather or snow, I say bring on the winter. I want to turn this shit around and be a positive person. I'm not a depressed or sullen person by nature. I love to laugh and make others laugh. I'm hoping that, by writing all this down, I've released it. That was the point anyway. To release negativity and realize everything good in life I still have. I have so much to be thankful for. So much a AM thankful for! I just want to be the best person I can be. The best wife and mother I can be. The best daughter I can be. If I can accomplish those things, then I will be the best writer I can be because I will be happy.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Where the (Blue) Grass Grows




Elise von Switzer has vanquished her own demon by surviving breast cancer. Now, she's determined to help others make it through their own struggles by championing the fight to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Kentucky. Taking control of her own destiny, she ventures into the great beyond to find the answers she craves.

One man deep in the hills of Kentucky holds the promise of help. Trouble is, Dane Lasseter's as elusive as the cure for cancer itself. Even those who know him stay away. Rumor is, he likes it that way. People are always out to take what he has. When the lovely Elise encroaches on his territory, however, Dane has no problem making an exception to his own rule.

Dane knows Elise is hiding something, but discovering her secret only makes him more determined to prove to her what makes a woman roar. But some scars run deep. Will Dane's healing hands be enough to calm the skittish Elise, or will she jet back the city, leaving her mountain man behind? When lust, love and hope get thrust together, all bets are off!


***This contemporary IR breast cancer survivor romance is full of emotion.***

EXCERPT!

There was nothing quite like the deserted mountains in rural Kentucky. Dane Lasseter had fucking missed them like he’d miss his fucking nuts if they’d been gone for three fucking months. Though it was the height of summer, Dane had been in Miami helping his brother and new sister-in-law get settled in their second home. Why they wanted to live there and why Dane chose to leave his mountain to help them, he had no idea. He as just glad they were all back for the moment. Living in a place that big and covered in people made him crazy. It took away his edge. Sure, he could hunt gators, but where was the sport in that? Damned things were practically crawling all over the swamps. But Miami…

Fucking cities.

He hated them. Could barely tolerate going to Lexington or Louisville for the occasional meeting and continuing education class. If it weren’t for the work he and Blake did for cancer research in both cities, he’d never leave his mountain or the bluegrass of Kentucky. Alas, cancer research centers like Markey, James Graham Brown, and Norton couldn’t serve patients by being located in the woods. Which meant, every now and then, Dane and Blake had to come off their mountain and face civilization. As far as Blake was concerned, civilization was highly overrated.

He’d only been home a few days. Was trying to decompress when he decided the best way to do that was to hunt. He needed fresh meat anyway. City food was so full of preservatives he was sure he’d be backed up for a month. He needed country grub. Fortunately, their cousins had maintained both his and Blake’s multiple gardens while they were away. Potatoes, onions, beans, cabbage, and radishes were all in abundance. Corn too, though it would be a few more weeks until it was ready. Now, he had new taters, beans, and peas waiting on a bit of meat to go with them at home. After a week of city food, his mouth watered just thinking about his own home grown goodness. That distraction was probably why it had taken until nearly sunset to get a deer in his sights.

Still as he could be, Dane brought tension to his bow, his arrow ready to fly. The big buck and his baby mama had been picking at his garden for the past several nights. While Dane couldn’t bring himself to kill the doe or the fawn, this fellow was fair game as far as he was concerned. Being in the city mean he smelled like the city. Which meant he was now covered in wonderful fragrance of pine and deer urine to mask his own scent.

“Shouldn’t have gone into another male’s territory, you bastard,” he muttered to himself as he got ready to take the shot.

The buck stood there, sensing the danger but unable to pinpoint where it was. If he’d turn just a little to the right, Dane could get the perfect kill shot. Just a little bit more… a little bit more…

A twang sounded to Dane’s left. A bowstring? A split second later, a thunk sounded and the deer bolted. As the creature fled, Dane spied an arrow shaft in the exact spot Dane himself was aiming for. Someone had gacked his shot? What the fuck?

Relaxing tension on the bow, Dane swung his aim to his right, wanting to see who trespassed on his land. His bow scope ensured he could see whoever was poaching on his property. The guy was good. He was still, blended nearly seamlessly with the greenery. It was only when he moved to adjust his field glasses that Dane saw him at all.

The guy stayed perfectly still, tracking the deer visually before taking off deeper into the woods. The moonlight gave Dane a glimmer of dark skin shimmering with sweat. The glimpse was fleeting enough he couldn’t tell if the person was black or just darkly tanned, but the absence of feminine…attributes lead him to believe it was a young man. He was slight of build and short, but his arms were lean and strong. The rest of him was covered in camo gear, but he moved with a swift grace as he tracked the deer through the brush. Dane followed at a distance, not wanting to spook the child but needing to warn him off his property. But if the kid was only looking for something to eat…

But that made no sense. No one lived in these mountains. Dane and Blake owned everything from the outskirts of the local town to the next. Everything was nearly virgin wood except where they’d made their homesteads. So why was this kid hunting out of season in Dane’s woods?

As Dane followed the deer’s trail, he had to admit the kid was good. Really good. If it hadn’t been for the deer’s headlong dash and bloody trail, he doubted he’d have been able to follow the kid at all.

It took thirty minutes before Dane caught up to the pair. Despite the mortal wound, a deer could run for several minutes before the adrenaline left and blood loss took over. Now, he saw the kid gutting the fucking deer, a hole already dug to bury the internal organs.

Smart kid!

“You’ve either got a set of balls bigger than I do or you’re just not very smart, kid. No one hunts on my land.” Dane knew his gravelly voice could be menacing and used it to his full advantage. In the dusky dark, the full moon just beginning to lighten the sky, the bloody scene was creepy enough. He’d been known to terrify grown, battle-hardened men. How would a kid stand up to him?

“Not balls,” came a decidedly female voice. “Ovaries. And I’m more intelligent than you.” The voice came from the “kid,” who never looked up from her work. “I killed my deer and still managed not to smell like I pissed a Christmas tree.”

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Mary Jane's Healing Hands -- EXCERPT!



Back inside, she noted her surroundings this time. How spotlessly clean the place was. If there was anything out of place, she couldn’t figure what it would be. Even the woodpile next to the fireplace was freakishly neat. And the food did smell really good. As Blake hung his coat on the rack next to the door, Ruth couldn’t help but watch him move. He had the grace of a jungle cat, all fluidity and controlled power. She shivered at the thought. Carnivorous grace. A predator, pure and simple.

He wore a red flannel shirt over a white tee, both tucked into jeans that hugged his ass and powerful legs perfectly. Muck boots came just below his knees. He toed off the boots onto a rug beside the door. Never had she seen anyone look so fucking good in such plain clothes.

With a little smirk at her, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking, he opened a closet and retrieved bedding and pillows. Just as the lights flickered once, then went out. Blake didn’t hesitate, but continued as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Firelight flickered over him making his dark hair seem to glimmer in the dim light.

Blake neatly made the couch with sheets and quilts like he might a bed, then made a pallet on the floor. “Intended for you to sleep in my bed, but with the power out, it would be better to sleep in here by the fire. I can’t run the generator all night so it will probably get chilly, and I don’t have the fireplace in my room ready for a fire. You take the couch.” He stretched out on the floor, flashing her that heart-stopping grin as he did. “Relax,” he said. “It’ll be fun. Like camping out.”

“This is your idea of fun?” Ruth couldn’t believe this was happening. She was stuck in the mountains of Kentucky with a man she didn’t know all that well in the middle of a snow storm. And she wasn’t broken up about it all. Sure, he routinely fucked up people who got in his business, but he helped people too. Surely that meant he was one of the good guys.

“Na. This is life. Fun would be doing this outside. We’d have to snuggle to keep warm.”

Ruth couldn’t help the giggle that bubbled up inside her. “You’re nuts,” she managed. There was a companionable silence for a while. The wind picked up outside, howling through the trees and over the house, but she felt no cold. He’d obviously taken care to insulate his home against the chill and wind.

“Come on,” he said, snagging her arm and steering her toward the kitchen table off in the corner of the living room. “Food is calling.” The living room and kitchen area were combined. While the room was small, he’d used the space well, keeping all but the couch in front of the fire against the walls to maximize the living area. They ate in silence for long moments. Which was a good thing. Though the meal was simple, Ruth was certain she’d never tasted anything so wonderful outside her gram’s cooking.

Finally, Ruth asked the question she’d been burning to ask since she’d discovered the truth about him. “Why do you do it?”

“Hold beautiful women against their will in my home in the mountains? Because I’m a lusty bastard and hope to persuade them to…get cozy with me when the fire burns low.”

She sighed. “Do you take nothing seriously?”

“I always take survival very seriously. Snuggling for body heat is a matter of survival.”

He took her dishes. When she offered to help, he gave her a sexy little smirk and told her to get ready for bed. Which just conjured up all kinds of naughty images.

Once she was settled and he situated himself on the floor between her and the fire, she continued their conversation. “You risk going to jail for drug trafficking and for what? You give away your product. Do you not make anything from it?”

“Ah. That.” He sighed as if disappointed, but continued. “Why would anyone do what I do?”

She thought a moment before answering. “I suppose you had someone in need of…medicine.”

“Very good,” he praised.

Which only grated on Ruth’s nerves so she added, “Or you’re just not very smart.”

He chucked. “I like your sass. You’re right. My mother had breast cancer. She would have died a natural death had it not been for my father, my brother, and me. She was the glue that held us together and she knew it. So she went through all the chemo and radiation the doctors suggested. Never once did she complain. But it was hell for her.

“Finally, my father had had enough. He loved my mother more than anything on this earth. My brother and I included. At her last doctor’s visit, he said he was bringing her home for good. No more treatments. My mother looked at him as if he’d handed her the Holy Grail before she broke down into tears. My brother and I wanted to protest. We wanted her around as long as possible. But we knew what she went through. The sickness every day. Not being able to eat. Losing what little she managed to choke down. And the pain. Always the pain.

“One night, Dad had just helped her from the bathroom where she’d been violently ill for half an hour. She could barely stand. Dad had to carry her back to bed. I did the only thing I could think of. I knew Mom wouldn’t like it. She was a church-going woman. But I rolled a joint and went to their bedroom. She was lying there, nearly lifeless from fatigue and lack of food to sustain her. Mom just looked at me, so obviously wanting her suffering to end but unwilling to leave all of us.

“So I lit the end, sucking in a lungful of smoke. I eased down to her and slowly blew it under her nose so she could breathe it in with her mouth or her nose. At first, she gasped in surprise, trying to turn away. But I kept at it. After a couple of hits, she started to feel better.”

Blake was quiet for several seconds. Ruth thought he was done, but, seeming to gather himself, he continued.

“None of us ever spoke about it. Beau, my brother, and I just made sure she had several joints ready each day if she needed them. The nausea lessened. The pain lessened. She still took the morphine the hospice nurse brought, but not as much. Her appetite increased and she got a little stronger. Did it cure her? Not in the least. She died a couple of months later. But her time was spent with us. Not in a drugged-out stupor where she was in constant pain. She still hurt, but it was more manageable.

“In the years since, Beau and I have dedicated our lives to finding the perfect mix of THC and CBD in our hybrid strains.”

“I don’t understand,” she interrupted. “Are you talking about what makes your weed special from everyone else’s?”

“Exactly. THC is what gives you the high and helps the pain. CBD is what helps the nausea, muscle spasms, and increases appetite. Most doctors favor a product higher in CBD content, while patients need both. It’s all very politically correct.”

“You sound like you know quite a bit about this.”

“Well, I’m not just a hick pot grower, you know.” She could see him smile even in the dim firelight. “I’ve actually got a degree in botany and biochemistry. My brother does as well. It’s taken us years—and we’re still working—but we’ve crossbreed the fuck out of several different breeds of pot.”


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fionn

Irish Sugar

The Bad Boys of Boston


Ice fills my soul. Nothing matters to me but my brothers. I'd kill for them. Every death chips away at the hint of humanity still clinging to me. And when the day comes to pay for my misdeeds....I don't think about that... Until then I will bask in my transgressions allowing the passion of my chaos to keep me warm. I'm the thing you fear when darkness surrounds you. If you're in my crosshairs, you're as good as dead. My name is Fionn O'Shea. Death is all that matters...

Until...her.

She alone fills the gaps in my soul, returns my humanity. By protecting her, perhaps some part of me will be redeemable when I must answer for my sins. She brings order to my chaos, keeps me warm when the ice threatens to overtake me. If you threaten her, you'll pray for the monsters in the dark to take you. But they won't. I'll bring your pain. I'll bring your suffering. I'll live for nothing else...

EXCERPT



“Oh, Fionn! That’s so fucking good!”

Fucking two women at once was definitely not overrated. Anyone who said otherwise was either a goddamned liar, or hadn’t done it and was trying to convince himself he wasn’t missing anything. The blonde and redhead Fionn was currently enjoying certainly lived up to his expectations. Thankfully, the pair was available pretty much whenever he wanted them to be.

“It’s ‘Finn,’ sweet. Not ‘Fee-on.’”

If he fucked them enough, one of the pair might remember how to say his name. Especially if he made them scream it enough.

As he tongued the pussy of the redhead while the other one sucked his cock with much enthusiasm, Fionn embraced the depravity of the act. He relished this. The rush of sex. It was the one thing that engaged his senses and made him feel…alive. The pleasure was good, the sensations of smooth skin and silky hair sliding over his body stimulating. Yeah. To say Fionn O’Shea loved sex was an understatement.

Rolling over, he pushed the blonde away from his cock as he reached for a condom. Sheathing himself, he mounted the redhead, who squealed in her excitement.

“I’m ready for you, Finn,” the redhead crooned, reaching for him. At least she’d pronounced his name right. More or less. Though, it lacked the delicacy of the original Irish. “Come give me the fuck of my life.” She gave him a saucy grin as she spread her legs wider, welcoming him atop her.

“My pleasure, sweet,” he murmured in the raspy voice he knew women loved. “Wiggle that little pussy on me.” As expected, she giggled and squirmed to fill herself with him.

Fionn sat back on his knees, pulling the redhead’s legs over his own as he thrust lazily, letting her do most of the work. While she danced on his cock, the blonde draped herself around his back, turning his head to kiss him hungrily.

Gripping the redhead’s legs, Fionn began a driving rhythm designed to take her just to the edge, letting her linger. It was a move he’d practiced many times, perfecting it over the years. He could do it with his eyes closed. Or, say, with his tongue tangled with that of another woman.

“Oh, yes!” the redhead screamed, twisting her hips, trying to grind on him to put more friction on her clit. Of course, Fionn was having none of it. She wasn’t coming until he said she was. And that wouldn’t be until he was good and ready.

Urging the blonde to her feet, Fionn ran the fingers of one hand along her slit, wetting them before he plunged two inside her. Her head fell back on a gasp, her nails gripping his shoulder as she rode the digits.

Yeah. This was the life.

His phone rang. Glancing at the screen, he saw it was his brother, Shannon. This could only mean work. Without missing a beat, Fionn answered the call.

“What?”

“I need your assistance on a couple of jobs.”

Shannon, his full-blooded brother, was the enforcer of their…family business. He also ran some of the more questionable areas. The only time Shannon ever called Fionn was when he’d had enough. Which meant someone was going to die.

“More than one? So, it’s a good day to die. What’s the job?” Shannon knew there was no way Fionn would ever turn down a request for help, no matter what it was. As the second youngest of their brotherhood of four, Fionn was just as loyal and steadfast to his brothers as they were to him. Each possessed a particular skill set. Fionn’s just happen to be the ability to rain terror on their enemies and never get caught. Mainly because he was fast and careful. Ever efficient.

“First one is Magda. I need her gone.”

Fionn raised an eyebrow, but didn’t stop his fucking. “Can’t say I blame you. Bitch has had it coming for years. All I can say is, it’s about damned time.”

“Next one is a bit tricky. Bart Holten. He’s making a play for my girls. More at Basic Bitch and the Nunnery than anywhere else. Trying to offer them more money, but when they refuse—and they all refuse—he’s threatening them or their families. I don’t have to tell you the information I get from them is too valuable to lose. Besides, he’d likely have them all into drugs in order to control them and the flow of information. And I have a feeling this all the old man’s doing. He’s testing me. And he wants that information channel for himself.”

“You need him dead?”

“No. Not yet. But I want to send him a message. If that fails…”

“He have family who can be used for leverage?”

“Only one. Her name is LeeAnn Bates. He married the girl’s mother but didn’t give his new wife’s child his name. The fucker didn’t have enough sense to separate himself from her at the earliest opportunity. She lives with him in Beacon Hill.”

Fionn snorted even as he continued to pleasure the two women in his bed. “I wonder why she refused to leave. Keeping Daddy’s money close, no doubt.”

“Probably. In any event, she was seen with one of my girls who frequents the Irish, trolling for clients and information. Don’t know exactly what she’s doing, but quite likely she’s reporting to her father.”

“So, I take it I’m to snag her? Hold her until we decide how to deal with…our little problem?” Fionn might talk business in front of his women, but he didn’t invite trouble.

“Nab her. I’ll let her father we’ve got her. If he’s not a complete bastard, he’ll take the hint and back the fuck off. I’ll get my girl to bring her to the bar. Once she’s at the Irish, you can take if from there.”

“And if he doesn’t back down?”

Shannon’s voice went cold. Deadly. Much like Fionn’s own. Too much like their old man’s. “Then take care of him.”

Fionn ended the call and absently tilted his hips as he thrust into the redhead. He’d never left a woman unsatisfied and, even though he wouldn’t be getting off himself, he wouldn’t ruin his reputation this time.

“Oh, God! I’m coming!” When the redhead started bucking over his cock, whipping her hips at him in a frenzy, Fionn tickled the blonde’s clit until she too spasmed around him. Both women screamed as they writhed on him, sweat shimmering over their pale flesh in the lamplight.

But Fionn’s mind was already on the job at hand. He’d finish up here then begin his search for the woman. If all went well, he’d have her chained to a bed before nightfall. If things went even better, she’d be a beauty he’d convince to give him information as he bedded her. He’d have what he needed. They’d both have a pleasurable romp.